Written by Joe Scotchie Thursday, 11 April 2013 00:00
Last December, after months of deliberation and compromise, the Town of North Hempstead board approved a plan to build a pool and tennis court at the long dormant Roslyn Country Club.
But action has been slow. At its January meeting, the board tabled a proposal to approve an agreement with Cameron Engineering Services for work on the pool complex. A town spokesman said that the town, at this time, was not prepared to enter into formal talks over a possible contract. However, the town, the spokesman said, would take up the issue with Cameron at a future meeting. In addition, the town is planning to form an advisory board for the new district, one that is likely to be comprised of Roslyn Country Club residents.
Meanwhile, excitement over the coming construction of the pool and tennis district remains high among local residents. At the numerous public meetings, most of those in attendance voice their support for the district, even though there were residents who opposed it and those who believed that a special park district, as opposed to one that was part of the town park district, was the wiser course of action. For instance, Todd Zarin, a longtime activist in the debate, declared that the district would not only end decades of stagnation on the matter, but also “define life” in Roslyn Heights for the better, making it a place where families can congregate.
Local real estate brokers also agree with Zarin.
“If the Roslyn Country Club comes back as a true country club that would be great news for Roslyn Heights,” said Dahlia Mairzadeh of Douglas Elliman Real Estate. “One of the best selling areas in Long Island is East Hills. The reason for that is the Park At East Hills. Everyone there has a young family. In the summer, the children go to camp. And in the afternoon, the park gives them a place to go with their parents. The young people make friends, they have a healthy lifestyle and it keeps them out of the wrong places.”
Mairzadeh said that she remembered when the country club was in operation in Roslyn Heights. During that time, she admitted, the housing market was doing “much better” than it is today. Roslyn Heights, Mairzadeh said, is located in a top-notch school district and a functioning, family-friendly country club would increase its attractiveness that much more.
Michelle Cohen of Laffey Real Estate would not compare the Roslyn Country Club to The Park At East Hills, but she did say that she was a “big fan of the Roslyn Country Club” and that it would be an improvement to the area in that the club, at the least, would result in a better lifestyle for the neighborhood. As with Mairzadeh, Cohen remembered the days when Roslyn Heights was a “major pull” for prospective buyers and that the area already has a built-in advantage due the Roslyn School District.
In December, the board voted to approve the basic plan for the park, one that town officials said would consist of 7.3 acres and include the construction of an outdoor heated pool, Jacuzzi/spa area, water slide and plunge pool, playground, kiddy pool and splash pad, concession and outdoor seating area, bathhouse, lower and upper poolside promenades and resurfaced tennis courts with viewing area.
Town officials maintain that the maximum amount proposed to be expended for such improvement is $7.5 million. Meanwhile, the cost to the typical property, they said, is estimated at between $800 and $1,000 in the first year, depending on the assessed value of the residential property.
Last July, the town board initially approved an acquisition of the property. However, that approval was met with opposition by civic associations in neighboring villages. The opposition came up with enough signatures to force a referendum on the entire matter for the November elections. Just as quickly, a Roslyn Heights resident promptly filed a lawsuit, putting the referendum on hold. The town responded with another compromise, the special improvement ditstrict plan. With this plan, the town would acquire the property through its Environmental Legacy Fund (ELF) and an estimated cost of $2 million.